Faculty & Staff
Head of School
B.S. Haverford College, M.S. Vermont Law School
Starting his career as a teacher in 1983, Nick has spent over 25 years teaching and administrating in independent schools, publicly funded schools, as well as schools for special needs. Prior to arriving at TGS in the summer of 2016, Nick was the Assistant Head for 9 years at the North Country School, in Lake Placid, NY. An outdoor enthusiast, Nick’s vision for The Grammar School includes blurring the boundaries between the outdoors and indoors as places where we engage the whole child – the head, the heart, and the hands (and feet) – while reinforcing the connections among the realms of kindness, community, play, stewardship, and academics. Nick lives in Westminster West with his wife, Liz, and their two children, Maya and Malcolm, who both love being students at TGS!
B.A. Haverford College
After graduating from college with a degree in English, Tara lived in Philadelphia and worked at The Pew Charitable Trusts for several years. A graduate of The Grammar School, Tara returned to her home state and joined TGS faculty in 2001 to teach in the upper school. She currently manages our business office and is part of the administrative leadership team.
A.A. Simon’s Rock of Bard College
Nathaniel grew up in central Vermont and has made a career in the building and fine woodworking fields. He apprenticed with Graeme King of King Boat Works building wooden crew boats and racing skulls. He has travelled the country extensively and has built houses and fine furniture along the way. For the last 24 years, Nathaniel has worked as a founder and owner of Everyone’s Drumming Co. in Putney, VT. Nathaniel is the parent of two TGS students and is happy to be an integral part of TGS community.
B.A. Beloit College
When preschoolers ask, “What will we do today?” the answer invariably involves outdoor exploration of our woods and pond, hands-on art and science projects, active games and physical challenges, stories and conversation, and numerous opportunities for joyful discovery. I bring to TGS an array of life experiences that include three years of service in the Peace Corps, pottery teacher, track-and-field coach, and backyard chicken farmer. I helped start the preschool in 1995 and have been the lead teacher ever since. Both our children spent their elementary school years in TGS’s robust and inspiring learning environment. When I’m not singing, discovering, cooking, hammering, cutting, gluing, assembling, hiking, reading, gardening, or make-believing with the preschoolers, I enjoy exploring the world with my wife and children.
B.A. Marlboro College, M.Ed Antioch New England University
I first came to TGS as a parent 8 years ago. In my work as an educator, I saw value in The Grammar School’s emphasis on community, academic excellence, and creativity. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the teaching staff in 2011. My work with children began over 15 years ago and during that time I have honed my skills and explored the philosophies of John Dewey, Maria Montessori, and Loris Malaguzzi. These educators have influenced my work with children and lead me to the belief that each child I have the privilege of working with is infinitely capable, creative, and intelligent. I see my job as teacher to be there to support these abilities and encourage them to make connections to the world around them through active play, social interactions, and exploring the natural world. When I am not working with the preschoolers at TGS I can be found gardening, hiking, crocheting, cooking, and enjoying life with my own two children.
Katherine Ellison Preschool Assistant Teacher
B.A. University of Vermont, M. Ed. Antioch University New England email@example.com
Kat is a TGS alumna of the class of 2004. Kat brings to TGS an avid love of the natural world and hopes to inspire children to love and care for nature as well. As well as attending as a student, Katherine spent time as a student teacher at TGS in the 3rd grade while earning her Masters in Elementary and Early Childhood education. Kat has taught a variety of age groups, including preschool, kindergarten, as well as third and fourth grades. When she isn’t teaching, Kat loves to read and write, spend time with her family and friends, and ride her horse. She lives in Putney with her husband Nick, their daughter Olive, and their two dogs, Scout and Harley.
B.A. Kirkland College, M. Ed. Antioch University New England
There is nothing like hearing the belly laugh of a kindergartner, witnessing their sheer delight in discovery, seeing them run with joy and abandon down a woods trail, or shepherding the development of their social skills throughout this pivotal year. While teaching kindergarten might not be for everyone, it is one of my greatest joys. To this work, I bring my desire to nurture in children a passion for learning and an understanding of what it means to be an engaged and productive member of a community. My time with the children is greatly influenced by my personal commitment to environmental stewardship, passion for the arts, and love of the outdoors. Since my arrival at TGS as a parent in 1998, I have been committed to the mission of the school and grateful for the foundation it gave my own children.
1st Grade Teacher
B.S. Northern Arizona University
I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, so after college with a degree in education and environmental science under my belt, I headed off to do just that. I have taught in Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan and lived in Japan. I bring these experiences and knowledge gained into the classroom through cultural studies and a deep respect for the "oneness" of the human race. I am also passionate about the natural world, developing my curriculum around it and bringing the students into it as much as possible. I enjoy spending my time Nordic skiing, gardening, quilting, cooking, and spending time with my husband and two wonderful daughters.
2nd Grade Teacher
B.A. University of Vermont, M.Ed. Boston College
A love of learning, a thirst for knowledge, and a deep affinity for children led me to a teaching career. After 31 years in the profession, teaching multiple ages in a wide variety of settings, I am grateful that TGS allows me to hone my skill. My students and I have the freedom to delve deeply into subjects that are fascinating and relevant. I have the honor to help my students strive to meet and exceed high standards academically, socially and creatively. We discover the interconnectedness of all living things; the rhythms and patterns of nature are threaded through the 2nd grade curriculum. I believe the most important lessons are those that we learn from the natural world.
3rd Grade Teacher
B.A. Scripps College | M.A. University of New Hampshire
I fell in love with teaching during my first job out of college as a teacher and naturalist at Echo Hill Outdoor School on the eastern shore of Maryland. From there, I obtained my master's degree in Environmental Education, because I love to help students explore the natural world around them. Now, I am thrilled to be working at The Grammar School where I can incorporate the outdoors into many aspects of the curriculum in order to foster curiosity, problem solving skills, and a passion for the outdoors. For example, my students and I have sit spots in the woods where we go each week to reflect and enjoy the quiet and beauty of nature. When I am not teaching, I love exploring Vermont on foot or bike and baking sweet treats.
4th/5th Grade Teacher
B.A. Spanish, Keene State College, M.A. TESOL, School for International Training
I did not come into teaching in the traditional route, it found me rather circuitously, and for that I am grateful. Since I began teaching I’ve made my way and found my passion through my students. I have worked with learners as young as 6 and as “young” as 65. I have taught in two languages, in traditional public schools, a small public charter school, in a language immersion program with refugees and immigrants, in a small living room with migrant dairy farmers and even in a large blue raft while floating down the Deerfield River. Since I started teaching I have been most passionate about the comfort of my students and the level of mutual respect within our co-created community. I most value honesty, a straight-forward nature and the willingness to laugh at oneself and thus, learn! When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending my time with my little boy, Bennett, my husband, Nick and our dog, Sully. My favorite things are live music, the color green, being outside, good chocolate, funky art and laughter!
6th Grade Homeroom, Social Studies, and Upper School Math Teacher
B.A. Sonoma State College, C.M.A. Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies
M.Ed. University of Vermont
I first stepped inside the community of The Grammar School as a young child when my parents and another couple chose to start the school in my backyard. TGS nurtured my love of learning, a love for and deep experience of the outdoors, a sense of purpose and agency, and a deep commitment to community matched with a curiosity of the larger world. I chose to send my children to TGS for the very same reasons and this year, my granddaughter started in the preschool. As part of the current faculty, I bring a great passion for mathematics to my classroom. I maintain a close connection to math teachers around the state through my involvement with the Vermont Mathematics Initiative, a team of teachers dedicated to researching the best in math education and creating math teachers who strive to continuously improve their understanding and instruction. I believe that mathematics is foundational to every child’s future and strive to develop a love and appreciation for mathematics in concert with deep understanding and skills.
Paul “Hop” Hopkins
7th Grade Homeroom and Upper School Science, and Physical Skills Development Teacher
B.S. University of Oregon, M.S. Antioch University New England
I love working at The Grammar School because I am free to teach our kids with science. By doing so, they observe, anticipate outcomes, collaborate with their peers, and base their truth on facts. In other words, I love helping kids learn to think like scientists. My 25-plus years in the classroom have allowed me to work on both coasts and overseas, to experience schools with deprivation and schools with abundance, and to meet children who share the common thread of the desire to learn about their passions and about themselves. What sets The Grammar School apart from places where I have taught before is I have the permission to pursue my areas of interest and experience. The woods, fields, and trails of our campus offer great places for kids to explore, to collect knowledge, and to cherish; to look, to learn, and to love are what I hope my students take with them from their time with me at The Grammar School.
8th Grade Homeroom, 7th and 8th Grade Humanities Teacher, Secondary School Placement Coordinator
B.A. University of New Hampshire, M.A. Georgetown University
When I was 14 years old, I knew I wanted to be an English teacher. I had incredible English and Social Studies teachers and I just knew. While I was always committed to my academic life and my desire to study, I also had a lot of adventuring to do. I was an equestrian for many years, and horses took me to Europe and even Australia. Living on a canal boat in my twenties, I visited 17 countries while floating on waterways, lakes, seas and rivers. I always had a book in hand and I started writing while aboard. TGS is the perfect fit for me, as I am a progressive educator who believes that all educational experiences must involve the whole student. I share my passion for vocabulary, literature, writing, theater, current events, and community service with my classes: TGS allows for this and more. I now lead an international 8th grade class trip to Ecuador, which strongly connects to my years of travel. I want students to graduate from TGS with confidence, compassion, strong academic skills, and a joy of learning.
Head of Music Department
B.A. Barnard College
For the past 25 years, I have had the great opportunity at The Grammar School to share my passion for teaching, making a difference in the world, and leaving a lasting musical legacy. Our small classes, curricular freedom, and fundamental love of the arts have combined to provide inspiration and momentum for me and my students to pursue our artistic goals and delve into new areas of exploration and performance. Instilling self-confidence and bravery, developing practicing and performing skills, and consistently giving back to the school and greater community through concerts and plays, the Performing Arts program maintains a high level of excitement and commitment from students, faculty, parents and community, most notably in the combined seventh and eighth grade spring musical. It is truly inspiring to work with our motivated and adventurous students in such a vibrant program.
Goymar School of Fashion Design
I am Paqui, the Spanish teacher at TGS. I was born in Barcelona, Spain, where I was raised speaking Spanish and Catalán. I never realized how lucky I was to grow up in a bilingual environment until I started raising my two boys in Spanish and English. I believe that being exposed to a second language opens a person's mind to diversity and to a broader understanding of the world. As a teacher who learned English as an adult, I feel that a language should be taught in full immersion without worrying about making mistakes. I teach using a combination of TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), games, art, authentic songs and resources, and novels to give students real-life Spanish skills. I like to make my classes stimulating and fun. I use as little English as possible, and I create situations where the students need and want to use their Spanish skills. I feel privileged to teach at The Grammar School and enjoy showing my students the diversity and vitality of the Spanish-speaking world. When I am not teaching I love to cook Spanish food, paint, garden, and spend time with my husband and sons Teo and Emilio.